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About fingerpickinblue

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  • Birthday 10/26/1956

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  1. That would make your two dashes about 1/30 of an ounce, slightly less than what I estimated. And that's what I figured you were doing... adding the absinthe to the liquid ingredients. You certainly can't rinse with that little absinthe. I don't agree completely. The way I see it is that the rinse does limit the amount used, but moreover it provides increased surface area, north of the wash line of the main body of the drink, to amplify the aromatic accent, without making that ingredient part of the main body of the drink. It does its work more on the nose than the palate. And I couldn't agree more. If you read my manifesto in the thread "Sazerac - perfected!", you'll see I list "leaving too much absinthe in the glass" as the number one pitfall in making this drink. The whole idea of "to taste" is what's wrong with this approach. You shouldn't be primarily tasting it. You should be smelling it. I'm assuming that what you are implying is that most bartenders want to use more than 1/4 ounce each. I wouldn't be in favor of that. I've been making the Mephisto for years now. If you don't believe me, search my posts. I love the drink. I remember when you first listed it, you had it at 1 barspoon each of simple syrup, smoky Scotch, and absinthe. That's how I always made it, and I've rocked a lot of peeps with it that way. I remember taking notice when your spec changed to 1/4 ounce each. I have never made it that way, but have a hard time imagining any subtlety at that level. I've always seen that drink as a slightly modified Perfect Martini, and the accents should be exactly that... accents. Of course it's your drink. Maybe I should take that for a spin. Is Murray working these days? I know he was having some health problems a while back.
  2. Yeah, I know... another zombini thread. Sorry, I've just been obsessed with this drink again lately. And this whole rinse of absinthe thing seems to cause so much angst for a good many people. Listen... I don't want to be wasteful either. However, I also want to get to drinking my Saz or getting it in front of the drinker in this lifetime. In my experience, to do a good efficient rinse requires a certain amount of absinthe. Too little, and it takes a long time to completely coat the inside of the glass. You have to rotate slowly and many more times than you will if you use more. However, too much, and you're unnecessarily throwing a lot away. That's why when I tutor people on this drink I always spec about a teaspoon (I don't measure it) of absinthe. If you want to get all technical, each different glass will require a different amount. But a teaspoon will cover a single rocks glass with a final loss of maybe 50% of the teaspoon, and a double rocks glass with a loss of no more than 33%. With practice (and practice at this drink doesn't suck), you'll get to know the glasses you are commonly working with. I'm always aiming for the least I can use and get it done in 3 or 4 rotations. And I gotta' tell you, nothing is sexier than watching a good bartender pour just the right amount of absinthe, coat the glass in 3 or 4 spins, and end up pouring out a minimal amount. That's the craft. And for you frugal types out there, at average retail, a teaspoon of absinthe is about $.50. A teaspoon is 1/6 of an ounce. You could rinse real fast with 3cl (1 ounce), but that is serious overkill. If I were using that much, I'd be concerned with recovery of the excess, as well. At typical retails an ounce of absinthe is about $2.40 to $3.00. If you don't recover the excess you just doubled the cost of your drink, if you're using a fairly ordinary rye. Two dashes, in my opinion, would be very difficult to rinse with. Two dashes is about 1/24 of an ounce. If you're talking just dashing it into the drink, I've seen it done and have done it myself, but you get nowhere near the aromatic pizzazz you get with a complete rinse on a glass. I never used the atomizer, but have seen it done with varying degrees of success. What I haven't liked is when some bartender is sloppy with it, misses the interior of the glass, and you end up with a lot of absinthe smell in the environment, affecting the perception of all the drinks in that environment. Class dismissed.
  3. fingerpickinblue

    Greetings my fellow absintheurs

    Welcome to the WS.
  4. fingerpickinblue

    Is FeeVerte Died?

    Well thanx for the link. I'm going to look at it over the next few days and see what I think. It's not like I have any power here, but I think some rejuvenation wouldn't hurt. I, personally, don't take your comments to be rude or disparaging. You sound like you care about this drink and just want a resource that offers some reliable guidance. I will say, however, that "just allowing anyone to come in and say something" probably is only just a little more safe with rum than with absinthe, and only because there are so many more people with a reasonably well formed idea of what proper rum is. The trouble with absinthe is, that with no baseline from which to start, so many consumer's expectations and opinions are easily manipulated. You throw up a review site with no guidance and I'm betting you have another absinthe site full of dreck and nonsense before you know it. And it will only be because the users don't know any better, or have a dialog or agenda they prefer to stick with. And I gotta' tell you, the points you touched on regarding the status of general absinthe knowledge out there is a real concern. Lately, I've been poking around the Internet to see what the substance and tone of articles about absinthe, written in the last three or so years, is like. I just got done doing that again for a couple hours. In my opinion, it's not much better than it was ten years ago. Many times, even when the article purports to be setting matters straight, or dispelling myths, they still backhandedly inject all the sensational misinformation in such a way that it is obviously the hook for a certain reader. One I just read, clearly stated that fire has no place in proper preparation, but the lead graphic is of a glass of absinthe with a burning spoon of sugar on top. To bring this back to topic, it pains me to think we may have lost one of the best sources of accurate absinthe information that has ever been out there.
  5. fingerpickinblue

    Tradition vs New ways

    I know this thread is ultra-zombie but I ran across it this morning. I think the problem with folks as we have here, with such an elevated interest in the subject, is that the desire is to define absinthe in such a way as to prohibit low quality examples. That doesn't square with how the TTB seems to treat these things. Their habit seems to be to define minimum characteristics, and many times in terms that are not so exact as to be measurable. Types of whisk(e)y are one of the few that are more specifically defined. Many others are far more general. Some examples: Gin; "Spirits with a main characteristic flavor derived from juniper berries produced by distillation or mixing of spirits with juniper berries and other aromatics or extracts derived from these materials and bottled at not less than 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof)" Brandy: "Spirits distilled from the fermented juice, mash or wine of fruit or from its residue at less than 95% alcohol by volume (190 proof) having the taste, aroma and characteristics generally attributed to brandy and bottled at not less than 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof)" Rum: "Spirits distilled from the fermented juice of sugar cane, sugar cane syrup, sugar cane molasses or other sugar cane by-products at less than 95% alcohol by volume (190 proof) having the taste, aroma and characteristics generally attributed to rum and bottled at not less than 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof)"
  6. fingerpickinblue

    Is FeeVerte Died?

    Can you give a couple examples of what that would look like? Links would be good. I'd just like to see what that format would be.
  7. fingerpickinblue

    Is FeeVerte Died?

    I think the thing that makes this site superior to not only other spirit review sites, but consumer review sites of just about any commodity, is the very clear and well defined tutorial on the front site. If one reads through it diligently, a review of high quality should be possible. Most review sites have no guidelines or standards whatsoever. They just turn the reviewer loose with a points system and they're on their own. Here, if done properly, the review is against a well defined standard of character and correctness. So the idea of people just floating in here to leave their thoughts, without doing their homework, scares me a little (and I realize that's not what you're suggesting). There's plenty of other places for that kind of review. Here, and at FV, have always been considered the gold standard review opinion (in English language) on absinthe exactly because we imposed standards. I've gotten to the point where I pay almost no attention to most general consumer reviews. The trouble is, since the advent of Yelp, Amazon, and all the other 5-star systems, coupled with the requisite qualifications of respiration and pulse, the world has been turned into a 1 or 5 shouting match.
  8. fingerpickinblue

    Is FeeVerte Died?

    Kinda' like Gwydion saying "maintaining the circus" is a thankless job, reviewing is, as well, and is one of the reasons I stopped doing it a few years back. However recently I did revisit one review, but then was unable to get in to insert my edited text. The other reasons I stopped doing it were time (in my case, probably about 2 to 3 hours per review), and money. I know the arguments against asking producers for product, but I always wished we had a system of getting and splitting up two sample bottles and getting them out to six or eight trusted reviewers on a rotating basis. In every other area of beverage it is common for producers to spread review samples around. I used to be happy to be of help with this when I was getting to know absinthe, but at some point it begins to become a real pain to be spending money to help producers sell their stuff. Just wrap your head around Brian's reviews. Do the arithmetic on 150 -160 absinthes at an average of probably $75 a bottle.
  9. fingerpickinblue

    Is FeeVerte Died?

    Yes, we do.
  10. fingerpickinblue

    Is FeeVerte Died?

    I was never a participant there but would occasionally use the great volume of information. I sure hope it's not gone for good. I've thought about the same thing with this place before. It's the risk with any private venture.
  11. fingerpickinblue

    Sipping Absinthe :) Watchin' Movies

    Unfortunately, not the genre for me. I just watched Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson. Those two and supporting cast were great. Writing awesome. I never knew about this one. Just saw it in the Redbox. Glad I took the chance.
  12. fingerpickinblue

    Pacific Distillery

    Situation normal. ;-)
  13. fingerpickinblue

    What ya drinking tonight?

    Thanx, Cajun. That's the way it is with Martini drinkers, though. You know, there's that old joke about if you're stranded on a desert island and loosing all hope, just pull out your portable Martini kit and start to spin one up. Within seconds four guys will pop out of the bush to tell you you're doing it wrong, but at least you'll be rescued! No shit about the Voyager. Gotta get that back in CT.
  14. fingerpickinblue

    What ya drinking tonight?

    That would be a seriously worthy pursuit. As I've already said, the Martini is one of the greats in American mixed drinks. And yet it's so simple... gin, vermouth, bitters, garnish. If this looks familiar, it's because the Martini is one of the 'old-school' drinks that actually is a true cocktail (spirit + sugar + water + bitters). Nobody knows for sure who 'invented' it, but if the truth were known, I'd bet multiple mixologists of the day were all spinning them up, unknown to each other. It really was just a natural progression. When vermouth became widely available (in the later 1800s), bartenders began using it prolifically to replace plain sugar in the true cocktail, that form known as the 'fancy' cocktail (a cocktail sweetened with an ingredient other than plain sugar). At first they were made with sweet gin and sweet vermouth, but as the turn of the century approached, consumer tastes in this drink began to trend drier (however still more sweet than current general trends), and hence the move to dry vermouth at a 1:1 ratio, and then progressively drier ratios. The sweeter composition has held in the sibling drink, the Manhattan. Although known and documented, the dry Manhattan never caught on like the dry Martini did. And I submit that it's because it really isn't a very winning combination (whiskey and dry vermouth). There's reasons why both these drinks have become such enduring classics. Of course there's the sympatico with regard to flavors and aromas of the base spirit and the modifier in each (whiskey, especially rye, and sweet vermouth in the Manhattan, and gin and sweet or dry vermouth in the Martini) that's really hard to beat. But moreover, from a textural standpoint, the combination of spirit and wine is absolutely sensual and hedonistic. And this is why I think people really short change themselves when they make Martinis with little or no vermouth. There's also the visual effect of this combo, especially with the Martini, and especially when using a dry vermouth that is close to colorless (Noilly Prat ED and Dolin are both good examples). When mixed with gin, the combination of viscosity and the resulting light refraction characteristics results in an almost 'other worldly' liquid-silver look. And that's part of the appeal. Even though from a historical standpoint, the Martini is 'old school', its look has always been chic, modern, and timeless. I'm not even sure which would be which, but I've always thought that the Manhattan and the Martini are the little black dress and tuxedo of the cocktail world. So anyway, MPC, my advice would be the same as the very good advice offered to you by Mr. Ekks... Dolin is a great place to start for anyone who wants to begin to experience a properly composed Martini. It's very high quality, gentle and somewhat floral, and not wildly assertive. What it does give you is those visual and textural characteristics that make the drink so appealing. If I never had a Martini made for the rest of my life with anything other than Dolin, that wouldn't suck. Gins? Personally, I like a reasonably traditional profile, and you need good quality in this drink. With just four other ingredients, and the types of ingredients (vermouth, bitters, lemon oil, and water), it's got nowhere to hide. Beefeater, Plymouth, Perry's Tot, Botanist, and Tanqueray 10 are all good choices. Marc's Voyager is outstanding in a Martini. Although a little more 'rough and tumble' than these others, I really like Broker's, and it's an exceptional value. If you don't have orange bitters, you'll need some. In the last 10 - 15 years we've gone from practically non-existent to lots of choices. Of the ones with which I'm familiar, if I had to pick just one for Martini use, it would probably be Bitter Truth. And Lemon... just make sure it's healthy... fresh, firm, and has good color. Olives are the other common garnish, but personally I like a few assorted olives on a side plate. The drink itself, IMO, is always better with a twist. Assembly In a cold mixing glass goes: Gin, vermouth, bitters. Add ice and stir a good 35 - 45 seconds. This drink is all about cold. Just make sure your mixing glass is cold. You don't, however, want it frozen... no freezer. If it's that cold, you'll have difficulty pulling enough water from your ice when you stir, and you do want some dilution. Into a chilled service glass: strain the drink. You want your service glass as cold as you can get it... freezer OK. Remember, with any drink served strained (no ice), the only thing that resists warming is the system of the drink itself and the chilled glass. Twist nice sized strip of lemon peel over the drink and lightly grace the rim. Peel then can go in or discard... either works. Ratios When I'm experimenting with something new, drink wise, I usually default to the pre-prohibition build of 2 ounces of total material. You can always size up whenever you want. Here are various ratios, just so you don't have to do the math. For all these, for now, I would default to 1 full size dash of bitters. 2 could be acceptable, but certainly no more. 1:1... 1 oz gin, 1 oz vermouth. 2:1... 1.33 oz gin, .66 oz vermouth. 3:1... 1.5 oz gin, .50 oz vermouth. 4:1... 1.6 oz gin, .40 oz vermouth. 5:1... 1:66 oz gin, .33 oz vermouth. If you really get into this, you'll find that each gin will have a sweet spot, for you, regarding ratio. However, I find that 3:1 works very universally well. Like I said, in each gin instance, there could arguably be something better, but 3:1 is never bad, and it's my default when spinning one up with an unfamiliar gin. DISCLAIMER... This is just my personal opinion. There are plenty of recommended recipes that call for even higher gin to vermouth ratios. In my opinion, I think beyond 5:1, that's when you are moving clearly out of Martini-land. There simply isn't sufficient enough vermouth to maintain the character and identity of this drink (you're pretty much drinking just chilled gin at that point, and there's a name for that). I'm not saying the drink would be bad, I'm just saying that I no longer consider it to be a Martini. I think the majority of those recommended ratios (up to 15:1, recommended by Hemmingway), are the desire of hard core alcoholics, or those with vermouth-o-phobia resulting from earlier discussed mishandling. So there you have it. Let us know how it goes. And always remember: Q. Why is the Martini like a woman's breasts? A. Because one isn't enough and three are too many.
  15. fingerpickinblue

    What ya drinking tonight?

    For crying out loud. I don't even know why I'm responding to this, but here goes: First, I didn't say that you said that. Second, you are entitled to your opinion on the subjects of vermouth spoilage rates, and my perceptive abilities, but I really can't imagine what you base the latter on. To my knowledge, we don't know each other. Time and refrigeration aren't the only factors that contribute to the oxidation of vermouth. At least as important as time, is how many times the bottle has been opened, allowing a fresh infusion of oxygen into the environment, and how much air space is in the bottle. Let me give you two scenarios: 1. A bottle is opened once and 1/4 ounce is used, the bottle is capped and fridged and not used again for a long time. That bottle might very well be sound a couple months later since only a small volume of oxygen was ever introduced and a relatively large volume of liquid is being acted upon. 2. A bottle is opened every 2 or 3 days and 3/4 ounce is used each time. In 3 weeks that bottle will have been opened about 9 times, each time replentishing an ever greater volume of oxygen. If it's a 375ml bottle, slightly over half the vermouth will now be gone. In my experience, this is about the point at which oxidation rates dramatically increase. In another week, my experience is that most dry vermouths will be showing critical oxidation. Actually, that was originally your word. I simply aped it to add emphasis and continuity to my quip and contrary opinion. Or maybe something else, which is that perhaps you have become accustomed to tasting oxidized vermouth. I might suggest that the next time you are down to that level in a bottle with more than 3 or 4 weeks on it, buy a fresh bottle and do a side by side. I'll bet you'll be stunned at the difference. It's been my opinion for a long time now that the reason so many people use far too little or no vermouth (or olive brine or whatever) in Martinis, is because they are getting highly oxidized vermouth either out at establishments, or from their own stash because they don't realize that it is perishable at some point. It's too bad because a well proportioned and well made Martini is one of the greats in the pantheon of American mixed drinks.